Asia

Turkmenistan leader's son gets senior parliament job

  • In this photo taken on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, left, speaks to journalists after casting his ballot as his son Serdar Berdymukhamedov, second right, with other family members stand behind at a polling station in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.  The government daily Neutral Turkmenistan reported Tuesday March 21, 2017, that Serdar Berdymukhamedov has become the chairman of the parliament's legal affairs committee. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)

    In this photo taken on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, left, speaks to journalists after casting his ballot as his son Serdar Berdymukhamedov, second right, with other family members stand behind at a polling station in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The government daily Neutral Turkmenistan reported Tuesday March 21, 2017, that Serdar Berdymukhamedov has become the chairman of the parliament's legal affairs committee. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, Serdar Berdymukhamedov, son of Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, stands at a polling station in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The government daily Neutral Turkmenistan reported Tuesday March 21, 2017, that Serdar Berdymukhamedov has become the chairman of the parliament's legal affairs committee. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)

    In this photo taken on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, Serdar Berdymukhamedov, son of Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, stands at a polling station in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The government daily Neutral Turkmenistan reported Tuesday March 21, 2017, that Serdar Berdymukhamedov has become the chairman of the parliament's legal affairs committee. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)  (The Associated Press)

The only son of Turkmenistan's longtime president has become a senior lawmaker.

The government daily Neutral Turkmenistan reported Tuesday that Serdar Berdymukhamedov has become the chairman of the parliament's legal affairs committee. He previously had served as head of the Foreign Ministry's information department.

His father, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has ruled the gas-rich ex-Soviet Central Asian nation since late 2006 following the death of his autocratic predecessor.

The president, who also has three daughters, has established an elaborate personality cult, with state media showing his prowess in an array of physical disciplines, including horse riding, racing cars, cycling and lifting weights. The constitution was amended to extend the presidential term to seven years from five and eliminate the age limit of 70, effectively allowing Berdymukhamedov, 59, to be president for life.